Trump Hid a Big Loan While President: Forbes

$19.8M debt with Daewoo, firm with ties to N. Korea, should've been listed in financial disclosures
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 6, 2022 8:12 AM CST
Trump Hid a Big Loan While President: Forbes
Former President Donald Trump announces a third run for president as he speaks at Mar-a-Lago in Palm Beach, Fla., on Nov. 15.   (AP Photo/Rebecca Blackwell, File)

Donald Trump had a foreign creditor he didn't disclose while running for president, with a debt that was quietly paid off a few months after he took office. Forbes has the documents from his Trump Organization, which were obtained by New York Attorney General Letitia James and/ show the unreported $19.8 million liability to Daewoo, a South Korean company that had teamed up with Trump on a New York City project. Trump apparently agreed to share some of his licensing fees with the company. The debt, which didn't appear on required financial disclosures during his presidential campaign or after he moved into the Oval Office, seemed to be eliminated with "some urgency" five and a half months after he became president, per Forbes: Although "the balance stayed static" from 2011 to 2016, it was suddenly paid off on July 5, 2017, though it doesn't say who exactly paid the loan.

However, Forbes notes "there is a chance" there was nothing illegal about Trump's lack of disclosure. Officials aren't required to reveal loans to their companies on financial disclosures, unless they assume personal liability for said loans. Because the documents Forbes has don't specifiy whether Trump "personally guaranteed the liability ... [it's] unclear whether he broke the law or merely took advantage of a loophole." Still, the revelation brings up questions of conflict of interest, as Daewoo's longtime ties with North Korea are also eyebrow-raising. During his stay in the White House, Trump boasted about his rapport with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, proclaiming, "He likes me, I like him" and "we fell in love," per the Guardian. Plus, as Bess Levin frames it for Vanity Fair: "What else might we not know?" (Read more Donald Trump stories.)

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